The Huskers made big news on Monday afternoon. The program announced that coach Scott Frost would be returning for a fifth season in 2022. Frost will get a chance to chart a new vision for the program. It has been five straight seasons of not making a bowl game. Four of those seasons are under Frost. The details of his restructured contract with Nebraska were not immediately available.
In today’s college football, recruiting has to be considered. A big talking points surrounding this bye week was Nebraska would be better off making an announcement because of recruiting. The Huskers will be out on the road later in the bye week. They plan on seeing their current commits and checking in on new prospects. The thought process was clear. It makes it easier for the coaching staff to recruit if it is known that Frost will be back for the 2022 season.
Is that the truly the case?
Nebraska is currently 71st overall in the 2022 recruiting rankings. Was that solely because Frost was on the hot seat? The team is also currently last in the Big Ten in the 2022 recruiting rankings. That is factoring in the commitment over the weekend of Jalil Martin.
Will the announcement of Frost’s return to the sidelines for next season be a spark for this cycle? The Huskers have used three official visits during the season. Wide receiver commit Victor Jones Jr. came in for an official visit but he was already on the commit list. Nebraska hosted Boise State commit Ka’eo Akana for an official visit. The outside linebacker is an intriguing flip target. Nebraska had Illinois defensive back Jalil Martin on an official visit for the Ohio State game. He committed to the team while on his official visit.
The Huskers have been clear. Getting players to Lincoln for a game day visit is crucial to their recruiting success. Frost noted ahead of the Northwestern game that the team wouldn’t have as many visitors this season. There was no hot seat talk then. We know that Nebraska is taking a smaller class in 2022. The COVID eligibility freeze and previous roster management caused that, but that alone doesn’t explain a lack of interest in players visiting campus for the current cycle. The players that Nebraska is recruiting for the 2022 class are developmental players. That’s fine long-term but those aren’t players that will help the program take flight in 2022.
The Huskers have the 11th best class in the Big Ten based on average star ranking. Comparing that to the 2021 recruiting class the Huskers were sixth in the conference in average star ranking. The class is ranked lower overall because there aren’t as many players in the class. Yet the overall class quality has taken a hit this cycle, too.
Let’s go back to the point about this announcement coming this week being best for bye week recruiting. Now we know that four of Frost’s assistants will not be back in 2022. There will be recruits being talked to by position coaches who will not be with the program next year. Philosophy changes could be coming too depending on who Frost hires.
The Huskers would be wise to hire the new position coaches sooner than later. New staff members might have different ideas about portal and JUCO needs. Nebraska will need to have a big success rate in both areas this offseason to turn things around. The timing of making swift changes is difficult. Every day counts in recruiting. What is a realistic timetable for bringing in new assistants in-season?It will be very difficult to bring in four new assistants before the season is over. A more realistic goal might be to have the new offensive coordinator in place to hit the ground running on Nov. 28. That’s when in-home visits begin for recruiting which is just two weeks before the early signing period begins.
There are no easy solutions here because of the situation the Huskers are in after the last four years. It’s much easier to sell the vision of the program long-term to recruits when you are at the start of your tenure. It also helps when you are winning. Nebraska faces an uphill battle to get recruiting momentum again. It’s a tough time with another loaded in-state class for 2023 and very good regional talent across the board.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.